Dutch legend Cruyff diagnosed with lung cancer

Dutch football great Johan Cruyff, regarded as one of the world's greatest ever players, has been diagnosed with lung cancer, his management team said on Thursday.

Johan Cruyff captained the Netherlands to the 1974 FIFA World Cup final.   -  Getty Images

Dutch football great Johan Cruyff, regarded as one of the world's greatest ever players, has been diagnosed with lung cancer, his management team said on Thursday.

“In the last few weeks Johan Cruyff has undergone medical tests at a Barcelona hospital. He has been diagnosed with lung cancer,” Carol Thate said a statement.

“To respect Johan and his family's privacy and because tests have not been finalised no further information will be given at this stage,” Thate added.

Cruyff, 68, who captained the Netherlands to the World Cup final in 1974 and who was one of the proponents of the “total football” philosophy has been in-and-out of hospital over the last few weeks with health complaints.

During his career as a Dutch international Cruyff scored 33 goals before retiring from football in 1977.

Afterwards he enjoyed a hugely successful managerial career with Amsterdam-based Ajax and Catalan giants Barcelona as well as a brief spell as adviser to Club Deportivo Guadalajara in Mexico.

Cruyff, often seen sporting a cigarette from the side of his mouth and known in his player days to light up at half time or just out of the showers, quit smoking after undergoing a double bypass operation in 1991.

Afterwards he even appeared in an advertisement for the Catalan health department in which he juggles a cigarette packet 16 times before booting it into touch.

“Football has given me everything in life,” Cruyff says in the advert, which can still be seen on the Youtube video channel. “Tobacco almost took it all away,” he said.

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